The Green Bay Packers head into their bye week on top of the NFC North with a 9-3 record. It would be absolutely baffling if they didn’t win their division, and they should have some home games in the playoffs. They might not even lose a game the rest of the season.
Yes, that includes the playoffs.
The Packers are in the top five of basically every significant power rankings list. Depending on what happens with the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, they could reclaim the No. 1 need in the NFC. They already beat the Cardinals once this season — shorthanded, no less.
Green Bay has time to rest and should have some additional players when they return in Week 14. Aaron Rodgers might have to deal with his toe injury the rest of this season, but it hasn’t stopped him the last two weeks. He would probably be a frontrunner for MVP right now if Jonathan Taylor didn’t exist.
Players like Kevin King, Rashan Gary, and Aaron Jones should all be at full strength for their next game. It was clear Gary was basically already back against the Los Angeles Rams. He recorded his sixth sack and three tackles, along with a forced fumble. There is also a chance offensive lineman David Bakhtiari might be back. But if the Packers are rolling, why rush him when they will need him in the playoffs?
So let me break down the Packers’ remaining opponents and explain why running the table is a real possibility.
Dec. 12: Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field
The Packers return from the bye with a home game against the Chicago Bears. Chicago is 4-7, and their head coach is hanging by a thread. Green Bay has already beat the Bears 24-14 this season in Chicago, where Rodgers got to scream to the opposing fans that he owns them. It’s an all-time classic moment. If Rodgers’ positive COVID test and drama didn’t follow that, we would still be talking about it. The Packers should win this game.
Dec. 19: Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium
This game is probably the hardest one left on the schedule for Green Bay. The Baltimore Ravens are 8-3 and on top of the AFC North. They will be competing with the Cincinnati Bengals for the rest of the season for their division. This game just got flexed from noon to 3:25 pm. Baltimore is ranked in the top 10 on most power rankings charts. They are fourth in yards per game, and their defense is giving up just under 22 points per game. It won’t be easy, but many people predicted the Packers would lose against the Rams as well. We saw how that went. The Packers are getting healthy, while the Ravens are still trying to find their identity and have a rotating cast of running backs and wide receivers this season.
Christmas Day: Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field
The Cleveland Browns aren’t a pushover, but they are also a mess. They sit at the bottom of the AFC North with a 6-6 record. The Browns’ defense is pretty solid and a big reason they have been semi-competitive all season. They’ve challenged teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers and even blown out the Cincinnati Bengals. They also lost 45-7 against the New England Patriots. The Browns are a hot-and-cold team, and I have a feeling the cold weather on Christmas Day in Green Bay will bring the Packers a victory.
Jan. 2: Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field
It’s another home game, and the Packers will probably still be competing for the No. 1 seed. After a grueling loss to the Vikings on Nov. 21, Green Bay does not want to finish their season losing twice to Minnesota. Their fans won’t shut up about it for a decade. Most of them still have the Anthony Barr tackle saved on their phones. It won’t technically be a must-win game for the Packers, but it really will be. Division wins are essential for playoff seeding — and pride. It shouldn’t affect it too much if the Vikings play their hearts out again and grab the win. But the Packers would much rather have home games in January. Three-straight NFC Championship games, including two at home, would be an impressive resumé for head coach Matt LaFleur for his first three seasons.
Jan. 9: Detroit Lions at Ford Field
I mean, what is this game going to be? Will the Lions win a game by this point? I sure hope so. You don’t want to go into your last week with a team hungry for their only win with a first-year head coach. If that is the case, will the Packers rest their starters? It usually doesn’t end well in the playoffs when that happens. But will it be worth another possible injury or two to go all out unless they are competing for the No 1 seed? Either way, Green Bay should be able to pull out a victory. It’s really nice sometimes that the rest of the NFC North often struggles.
The same theory goes for the postseason. Barring another significant injury, this Green Bay Packers team is deep and talented. There were a million reasons why this season could and should have ended in disaster, but it hasn’t. If the Green and Gold can win the rest of the way out, I can see them doing the same thing in the postseason — and even the Super Bowl.